MARION COUNTY, Ind. — Ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, dispatchers with the Metropolitan Emergency Services Agency (MESA) are reminding people not to call 911 to report fireworks violations.
The MESA 911 Center is the busiest in Indiana and one of the busiest in the entire country handling over one million calls annually.
The office says the upcoming Friday and Saturday leading up to the Fourth of July are the busiest for dispatchers in Marion County’s 911 Center. The 911 Center expects to answer over 3,000 calls on Independence Day alone.
The office wants to help reduce the burden on 911 dispatchers. They remind people that unless someone is injured, or property is seriously damaged by fireworks, they should not call 911.
Lt. Shane Foley with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said they want people to follow the ordinance and will respond if there is a risk of property damage or safety risk. Still, the department is also dealing with celebratory gunfire along with public safety.
”We’ll get to it if we can but ultimately we want to focus on public safety, violent crime, things that are putting the public at risk,” said Foley.
In Indianapolis, people can light fireworks during the following timeframes.
- June 28-July 3 from 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset
- July 4 from 10 a.m. until midnight
- July 5-9 from 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset
- From 10 a.m. December 31 until 10 a.m. January 1
Violators face a fine between $100 and $2,500. The first offense carries a penalty of 100. The second offense within a 12-month period carries a minimum penalty of $500. Subsequent offenses carry civil penalties of up to $2,500.
Chris Stabb, president of the Near East Side Community Organization, says the fireworks ordinance is difficult to enforce since it’s there and gone so fast. They don’t want to pull IMPD off things, so they try to do conflict resolution themselves.
”We have gone out and reached out and talk to them and explained the situation that you don’t know really know all of your neighbors, there may be some of your neighbors that are really stressed out when you light off fireworks,” said Stabb.
Residents can call the non-emergency telephone line, 317-327-3811, to report fireworks violations. Cellular telephone users in Marion County may also dial 311 for non-emergencies.
Call 311 or (317) 327-3811 for:
- Loud music/parties
- Identity theft/fraud reports
- Barking dogs
- BMV Checks
- Runaway reports
- Lost/stolen property
- Parking violations
Call 911 for:
- All fire/medical problems
- Drunk/reckless drivers
- Thefts/robberies in progress
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Suicidal/welfare checks
- Suspicious people/vehicles
- Shots fired/calls for help
- Any incident endangering people
- Any in-progress damage to property